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Should we allow answers generated by ChatGPT?

+10
−0

We got our first (mostly) ChatGPT answer in our community. Also, a question includes an adapted ChatGPT code that does not seem to do the job.

StackOverflow has already banned ChatGPT answers and I am wondering how we should proceed in this case.

From my perspective, we should also ban ChatGPT answers because it is very likely to include subtle errors and lack any citations (ChatGPT actually had the option to answer the question of sources, but this was removed).

What do you think? Should we allow answers generated by ChatGPT?

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7 answers

+8
−1

Now that we've had a few of these answers, I really don't like them.

It seems there are three separate problems with the ChatGPT answers we have seen:

  1. Quote-only. Just like we don't allow link-only answers, we shouldn't allow quote-only answers. Someone answering here needs to provide insight of their own. There can be value in finding a good reference to quote from, but that should come with at least some commentary of why the source is credible, how it was found, how that fits with personal experience or knowledge, etc.

    Anyone can look up a question on the internet and copy whatever answers pop up. That's not adding much value, and without vetting, can be negative value. This is not what we want this site to be. We want answers based at least on some personal contribution.

    We want the kind of answers that others will quote.

  2. Not definitive. Quoting should be done from sources that are reputable, vetted, and there is reasonable cause for considering the answer well-informed. ChatGPT is none of these. We don't know what data sources were drawn on, nor what inferences were made. We are not hearing the voice of experience or credible expertise.

    While it might be valid to use AI to find inferences you didn't think of, those inferences are only starting points for investigation, not ready-made answers. Quoting them as if they were the latter is likely more damaging to a store of knowledge than useful.

  3. Just plain lazy. If you're not going to put some personal effort, expertise, or report of personal experience into an answer, then we don't want you. Lazy answerers are not helpful in building a community of contributors. These are not the type of users we want to interact with here.

I therefore propose that quoting ChatGPT be banned, except possibly for small snippets with significant discussion added by the answerer.

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+4
−0

"Subtle errors" understates the problem. For example, I asked it about uses for std::equal_to, and it tragicomically gave me a code sample passing std::equal_to as the comparison predicate to std::sort.

No more citations?! I loved that feature!

I would be inclined to favor replies where someone took the ChatGPT output and ran it in a debugger before posting.

Another option would be to ask it to check its work. I tried the obvious nonstarter of asking "Does this code have a bug?" and pasting in the code sample it had provided. It was obvious that wouldn't work, but it did. ChatGPT explained that its code sample was wrong and explained exactly why.

One angle on this is that a person with a question can simply run ChatGPT if that's good enough, and that person will only have come here if there's a need for something better.

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+4
−0

After some more experience from this bot over a couple of months, I would say that we should ban it simply because:

The answers it gives are often wrong.

ChatGPT has been hyped up ridiculously. It is not that good, it is not that smart, it cannot be trusted to give correct answers to complex topics such as programming. It cannot write decent code. It is just guessing.

Whenever someone tries to make it answer a complex topic, it starts to blurt out cocksure statements that are factually incorrect, mixing those with things that are correct. Basically it is producing "the best kind of lies with a little bit of truth mixed in".

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+7
−2

Good question, but solid ‘meh’ on the issue. I don't think a preemptive ban is warranted. It's not as if we're being flooded, and it's also not as if that one ChatGPT answer is worse than the median human answer here. I'd say let's upvote and downvote answers per usual without any particular restrictions on sources. (Although citing the source of an answer, as in all cases where the author of the post is not the source, should be required.)

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+4
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My oppion is that they should NOT be allowed if they are not checked by a human for correctness and/or 100% copy pasted without a single thing changed. If they (the poster) checks for correctness and changes it so its not fully copy pasted I think it should be allowed just like any other answer.

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+0
−4

This may be a bit out of left-field, but I don't see anybody else taking the approach.

Let's face it, ChatGPT and AI and all its quandaries are not going away. If we put a ban in, some clever clogs will work out a way to bypass, just for the sake of it. If we allow ChatGPT open slather, the quality of answers becomes hopelessly variable.

I suggest we take the bull by the horns, and put some smarts into the question writing function that, once the question is completed, submits it to ChatGPT. Codidact then inserts ChatGPT's answer and the community are then allowed to try to reword the question so the AI provides a better (more accurate, more precise, etc) answer.

Heck you could even submit the question again to query if there's a better way to write it and get a positive feedback loop going with ChatGPT.

I know nothing about licensing, so this may be expensive. At the same time, the competitive advantage by exploring this niche (before others jump on the wagon - it will happen) may make the expense worth it.

An alternate idea (prompted from a comment) might be to have an official 'ChatGPT' community member, and give mods, or some group created for the purpose, privileges to use that account to write a response (including the text of the question used) as given by ChatGPT.

My reasoning for this approach is that an official use of the AI tech will reduce the noise - whether from the multiple ChatGPT answers given if it's allowed, or the attempts to sneak AI-assisted answers through if it's not - by providing a single AI focus point for each question.

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Noise (2 comments)
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Allowing ChatGPT answers on a software Q&A website could have several benefits for the community. First, it would broaden the range of solutions available to users seeking help. This is especially important considering that around 1 in 4 questions on the website currently go unanswered. By providing answers generated by ChatGPT, users will at least have some guidance or direction, even if the answer is not ultimately correct. Additionally, banning ChatGPT answers could limit the diversity of perspectives and solutions offered in the community. While it is true that some ChatGPT answers may be wrong or provide low value, it is still better to have some sort of answer rather than none at all. In fact, even incorrect or low value answers from ChatGPT could potentially inspire a user to come up with a correct answer, as they may serve as a starting point for further research or discussion. Overall, allowing ChatGPT answers on the website could potentially enhance the usefulness and value of the community for all its members.

Another key benefit of using ChatGPT is the ability to maintain privacy while communicating online. As artificial intelligence continues to advance and the singularity approaches, it becomes increasingly easy for individuals to be identified and tracked based on their online activity. ChatGPT helps to address this issue by rephrasing and altering the wording of users' online messages, which can help to obscure their identity and protect their privacy. This feature is particularly useful for individuals who are concerned about being monitored and who value the ability to communicate anonymously.

— ChatGPT

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As my answer suggests, I'm generally for appropriate use of any tool here for goals aligned with the ... (1 comment)

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